iPhone 2019 rumours: fingerprint readers, 5G support and more

Apple’s latest range of smartphones has been on sale for just a few months but the rumour mill is already in overdrive about next year’s models. See related The iPhone XS, XS Max and budget XR phones, which were unveiled in September, brought just a handful of upgrades to last year’s headline device, the iPhone X.

This led some experts to wonder whether the Cupertino-based tech giant would introduce significant updates to its smartphone line-up when the new iPhones arrive next autumn. Here’s a round-up of the latest rumours and unconfirmed reports about next year’s iPhones:

Touch ID set to return

Apple decided to ditch its fingerprint-reading home button in favour of face-scanning security systems when it launched the iPhone X last year. Although most smartphone makers have also moved over to face-scanning security systems, a small group of devices – such as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro – has fingerprint readers built into the screen as well.

A report by the tech rumour site Patently Apple predicts the iPhone maker will employ a similar finger-scanning system in its next batch of smartphones. The company reportedly filed a patent for a fingerprint reader built into a touchscreen in 2015, the rumour site says. Given that rival smartphone maker Samsung is expected to introduce a similar system next year, it seems logical that Apple will also do so.

No 5G support

Mobile network providers are expected to start rolling out faster connection speeds in 2019.

The 5G system will run alongside the existing 4G and 3G networks, providing “broadband-equivalent download speeds” to smartphone users on the go, says Wired. But a Bloomberg report claims that Apple won’t introduce support for 5G networks on its smartphones until 2020. Sources familiar with the plans told Bloomberg that the tech giant believes the first smartphones to support 5G networks will come with “problems such as spotty coverage, making consumers less compelled to immediately make the jump.”

But ArsTechnica suggests the delay could be a result of the “rift” between Apple and chipmaker Qualcomm, which is “arguably the industry leader” for cellular network technology. The two companies have been embroiled in a legal battle after Qualcomm accused Apple of stealing its chip designs and handing them over to rival firm Intel, the tech site says.

The “notch” could shrink

The notch – a small indent at the top of the screen housing the smartphone’s front-facing cameras and sensors – has divided opinion among fans. It has featured on every Apple smartphone since the iPhone X launched last year.

Most of Apple’s rivals have included similar notch designs on their smartphones with edge-to-edge displays. Many of these designs have been implemented more discreetly than on the newer iPhones. The notches on next year’s iPhones could be “half the size” compared to the designs on today’s range of iPhones, according to TechnoBuffalo.

Images posted on Twitter by Ben Geskin, a concept designer who creates smartphone renders from leaked information, reveal what the small notch could look like.

It appears that fans will have to wait a few more years before Apple completely removes the notch from its smartphones.

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